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Central finally puts full lineup together in 54-10 wrestling win over Red River

Feb. 1—GRAND FORKS — It only took the entire regular season, but the Grand Forks Central boys wrestling team finally fielded its full lineup on Thursday night.

The Knights showcased their full potential with a 54-10 win over rival Grand Forks Red River in the Red River gym.

Central took claim to a Grand Forks traveling trophy, a belt with images of the Knights and Roughriders. The belt made its first appearance prior to the dual and was presented by former Central coach Vince Ames.

"No better time than the last duel to have a full lineup," Central coach Garrett Litzinger said. "If we would have taken care of business early in the year and had our full lineup together, I think we'd be a two or three team in the region. With individual regions coming up, I'd like these guys to have a chip on their shoulder and try to make a statement and get in that No. 2 or No. 3 spot in the individual team race."

Against Red River, Central received pins from Rhys Safratowich at 107 pounds, Landon DeCoteau at 127 pounds, Zachary Nelson at 133 pounds, Brendan Winn-Kelley at 145 pounds, Michael Norman at 152 pounds, Landon Petron at 160 pounds and Eric Stouder at heavyweight.

Winn-Kelley, the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the state, hasn't lost to a North Dakota opponent this season. He pinned Red River's Mason Bartels with 49 seconds left in the first period.

DeCoteau, who missed much of the season due to a nagging cut on his leg that required multiple rounds of stitches, pinned Red River's Isaiah Barta early in the second period.

Logan Vohries, who was once feared out for the season with a dislocated knee, was able to pick up an 11-4 win over Red River's Quinn Rerick at 172 pounds.

Red River's victories came from Brody Ray at 114 pounds, John Bjerke at 189 pounds and Aiden Pelayo at 215 pounds.

Bjerke won 6-4 by holding off a late effort from Central's Noah Morkve.

Ray beat Gabriel Flores III 9-8 with a late takedown after the matchup was knotted at 7-7 late in the third.

The Riders, who had to forfeit three matches a year ago in the rivalry dual, forfeited just one this season, and that forfeit was a result of a recent injury in that weight class.

"(Bjerke) wrestled well throughout, getting the lead and was able to maintain it," Red River coach James Covington said. "It's important to not forfeit weights. This year, I got a lot of kids in different sports interested in wrestling, and we were able to get a lot of our kids to get out and recruit, and that helps a lot."

The EDC individual wrestling tournament is set for Feb. 10, at Fargo Davies.